The function of proteins, which fulfil various tasks inside the cells, is often analysed in aqueous buffer solutions. However, it is not known, for example in case of pharmaceutical studies, if they work in the same way in those solutions as in their natural environment: the cytoplasm is highly crowded with biomolecules, organic and inorganic substances. Under the tutelage of Junior Professor Dr Simon Ebbinghaus, researchers from Bochum have demonstrated that the water surrounding the dissolved substances inside the cell plays a crucial role with regard to protein stability, which has frequently been neglected in the past. The researchers have published the results of their study, gained by means of simple model systems and thermodynamic analyses, in the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS). The results have been obtained following a collaboration under the umbrella of the Excellence Cluster RESOLV. The researchers were, moreover, presented with a Hot Topic Poster Award at this year’s Bunsentagung in Hamburg.